Category Archives: Enumerated Powers

Thy Kingdom Come

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This week has seen two decisions added to the infamous record of the US Supreme Court: Dred Scott, Buck v. Bell, Roe v. Wade; and now King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges.

King v. Burwell effectively changed the Affordable Care Law to ignore the clear meaning of the words “established by the state,” in effect changing the wording to “established by the state or federal government.” This is a clear violation of Article I of the Constitution: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…” Six justices usurped legislative power, a high crime and violation of their oaths of office.

Just days later, in Obergefell v. Hodges, five of those six justices — even Chief Justice Roberts couldn’t stomach this excess  — misappropriated the power of the states by changing the definition of marriage. The edict establishing government sanction of homosexual “marriage” also is a high crime and violation of the justices’ oaths of office. Why do we need Congress, when we have the Supreme Court to rule our nation and make our laws for us?

Many have documented these blatant violations of the Constitution by the federal courts. Many are also proposing solutions. The correct response is for Congress to remove the six worst justices via impeachment. We all know this will never happen, given the contempt exhibited by most members of Congress for the Constitution.

Senator Ted Cruz has proposed a constitutional amendment to make justices stand for recall election on an eight year cycle. Though I am generally cautious about amendments, I would support that approach, though I would prefer to see a requirement for re-confirmation by the Senate super-majority. The Framers of the Constitution were not perfect, so they did not foresee the extent of the judiciary’s lust for power; the degree of spinelessness that Congress has evolved; or the growing ignorance of the electorate about the nature and purpose of our Constitution. Cruz’s proposal would at least give us some hope of eventually reversing the abominable choices made by the president and Senate.

Some local political jurisdictions are deciding to stop issuing any marriage licenses, so all couples of whatever kind would be treated the same. I proposed this back in 1999 in a newspaper column, and received lots of verbal abuse in response. This is still a good idea, and I hope that it gains momentum at the state level. To go along with this, of course we need to remove tax incentives and whatever other government benefits are associated with marriage.

What does all of this have to do with the “Thy kingdom come” petition of the Lord’s Prayer? The degeneration of society is to be expected in the years approaching the Second Coming of Jesus. The government sanction of homosexual “marriage” is a new low in human moral history. It’s not Sodom and Gomorrah, in that we don’t yet have homosexual rape mobs ruling the streets; but it is something that even those condemned cities apparently never thought of.

I see two ways to think of “Thy kingdom come.” It can be a petition that the Christian Gospel would be spread far and wide and be accepted by the hearers. It can also be a petition that Jesus would return and cut short the persecution of His people, the church. Either one is especially appropriate in light of the direction our society is headed. Which one it will be we leave to the next of the petitions: “Thy will be done.”

Fast Track Takes Us Down the Rabbit Hole

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Since 1974, Congress has frequently ceded the Senate’s power to accept (ratify) or decline treaties, under the so-called Fast Track trade negotiating authority. First given to Gerald Ford by the Trade Act of 1974, Fast Track allows the president to negotiate a trade related treaty with foreign powers, then submit it to Congress for approval by a majority, without amendments. This circumvents the constitutional procedure of the president presenting the treaty to the Senate for debate, followed by potential reservations, and a ratification vote, which requires a two thirds majority to pass. Under Fast Track, no amendments or reservations are allowed, and passage requires only a majority vote.

The current attempt by President Obama and the establishment Republican congressional leadership to implement a version of Fast Track is intended to grease the skids for passage of several trade agreements: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Parnership (TTIP) and others. The proponents of these treaties position them as “free trade” bills that should make American goods more competitive internationally. What they actually do is to set up international bureaucracies with legislative powers that supersede the powers granted to Congress. (<– Please do click that link)

The treaties themselves are inherently unconstitutional. The Constitution does not grant to Congress the power to delegate its own legislative authority to anyone, least of all a foreign body. Congress also has no constitutional authority to grant judicial powers to others. But cases that arise out of these treaties will be decided by the bureaucrats who administer the bodies created by the treaties. Americans would have to live with the decrees of the “administrative law judges,” since US courts would not be authorized to interfere.

So what we have is an unconstitutional process being used to implement unconstitutional treaties. We have congressional leadership, including especially the Republican Senate and House leadership, colluding with the least trustworthy president in generations, to grant that president carte blanch to negotiate the treaties, with almost no possibility of failure to ratify them. Most bizarrely of all, we find ourselves having to rely on sleazy congressional Democrats and their union allies to prevent all of this: right at home in Alice in Wonderland.

It’s too late to do anything about the Senate, since they’ve already gone to the dark side. The House of Representatives is supposed to be “the people’s house,” so it’s past time for “the people” (you and me) to weigh in. Find your representative’s contact information and call, write, or email your opposition to Fast Track and the so-called free trade agreements.

Keep our Police Local

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Recent news coverage is full of stories of abuse by local police (including my own blog), militarization of police, and federal efforts to control our police. Even our dogs are not safe from police over-aggressive tactics. We are at a dangerous crossroads on this issue. Many police departments (local, state, and federal) are violating the Bill of Rights and/or using excessive force. The federal government has been flooding departments with military grade equipment, and using that and other forms of aid as leverage to control how the police operate. There are even pressures to federalize the police entirely as the “solution” to local police abuses.

There can be many reasons for a person to go into police work. The primary desire of some is to protect people from those who would violate their rights to life and property. At the opposite end of the spectrum are bullies who need the authority of their office to feed their desire to push people around. Most are undoubtedly public spirited people who like the work and the stable employment. The bullies would be the source of most of the problems we have with local police.

The progressive, collectivist approach to so many problems is to set up the conditions to make the problem intolerable, then propose “solutions” that involve a federal takeover of the area of our society where the problem occurs. We’ve seen this in the healthcare arena, where costs have been driven to a ridiculous level by federal regulations, justifying the proposal of federal health insurance. In the area of law enforcement, the federal government tempts police forces with “free” military equipment, then sends rabble rousers from the Justice Department to fan the flames of riot. Naturally, the police use their new equipment for riot control. The federal response is to step up attempts at federal control of the police.

One law enforcement officer who seems to understand this game is the Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, David Clarke. Testifying before a congressional committee investigating police militarization, Clarke heard congressmen crowing about the need to regulate local law enforcement. He responded that “Let’s leave that conduct for the public to engage in, not … elected officials who can’t resist the opportunity to exploit the emotions of an uninformed or misinformed public simply for political gain.”

There is no power granted by the Constitution for any federal involvement in local law enforcement. A return to Constitutional principles would be a good start: stop all federal aid to police departments, currently implemented through the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance and other agencies. Naturally, this should include any transfer of equipment to police departments. Along with this, federal regulation of local police should be terminated.

Regarding militarization of police departments, removal of Washington from the picture would be a good start. Before proceeding further, each local government that operates a police department needs to assess its own needs. Some cities may decide that a return to traditional civilian style policing serves their needs. Others, which may have to deal with gang problems, for example, may need a police department that can respond more on a combat basis. If so, they need to acquire whatever equipment they decide using local tax resources.

The abuses of bullies with badges and guns also need to be dealt with locally. The outrages that appear so often in the news usually involve police departments that “investigate” their own actions, coupled with prosecutors who believe that the police can do no wrong. The blame for this can be laid squarely on those who elect the city administration, prosecutors, and judges. Citizens who don’t get up in arms about such official misbehavior are perpetuating the problem. When we see police abuse in our towns, we should not go crying to Washington for help. The only real solution is to make use of the ballot box.